Sorry team Yanny, Laurel is dominating on Google.
The great Yanny vs. Laurel debate exploded on Tuesday after a recording of a computer-generated voice started office fights around the world. The voice appears to be saying one word, and no one can agree if it’s saying “laurel” or “yanny.”
Listen for yourself here:
While the internet seems pretty divided on whether they hear the word yanny or laurel, Google Trends shared that searches for laurel are way above yanny in every area of the United States. This doesn’t necessarily mean more people are hearing laurel, but it’s still interesting that it’s higher considering yanny is the first word on the Instagram poll that’s been floating around with the audio.
While it’s still unclear exactly why people are hearing different words in the clip, many people are pointing to the amplitude of the clip, frequencies heard, and the speaker used to play back the audio.
It’s likely that people hearing yanny are using speakers that do not reproduce low frequencies well, such as the speaker on an iPhone. But turn the volume up and play it on a set of speakers that replicate bass better, and you may find yourself on team laurel.
Check out this clip of someone cutting out the high end of the clip and boosting the bass.
This is also possibly because the “equal loudness curve.” Basically, it takes more amplitude to hear lower frequencies, so if the clip is played at a low volume or at a distance, you may be more likely to hear the word yanny, which appears to be represented in a higher register than the word laurel. Turn up the volume on decent speakers and you may hear laurel.
Additionally, as people grow older the range of frequencies they can hear is often diminished, especially high frequencies.
Finally, everyone’s hearing is different, and environment can have a lot to do with how you perceive sound. Also, our ears love to play tricks on us, making audio illusions just as fun as optical illusions.
If you do want to test out different methods of laurel vs. yanny, just make sure you give yourself some time in between each session, possibly with another audio clip in there to cleanse your audio palette.
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